As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a Cantabrian tells us how she achieved $200,000 in savings and a paid-off mortgage before turning 40.
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Role: Public service supervisor.
My living location is: Canterbury.
Rent/Mortgage per week: $0. I paid off the mortgage on my house last year, and my partner pays me $120 a week in “rent” to help cover the usual insurance, rates etc.
Student loan or other debt payments per week: $0 – I worked to save for my study fees before studying, applied for scholarships, and got a student allowance.
Typical weekly food costs
Groceries: $350/week for the two of us. This includes $25-$50 at the farmers market for meat, eggs and produce.
Eating out/takeaways/workday lunches/cafe coffees/snacks: $25/week for takeaways/eating out. I take a packed lunch for work and don’t drink takeaway coffee.
Other food costs: $15 a month for seed raising mix/compost plus plants and seeds. This produces most of our veges in summer.
Savings: I only have 20k in my Kiwisaver as I used 20k from it for a deposit on my first home. But I have $200,000 in term deposits from saving over half my salary every month since I started working full time at age 18.
I worry about money: Sometimes.
Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Frugal. Fortunate. Reliable.
My biggest edible indulgence would be: Cheese.
In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: $0. I basically don’t drink, maybe one or two ciders or wine with friends every six months or so.
In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $50 on petrol.
I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was: $100 or less. I opshop when I need something but often I’m given secondhand clothes so rarely need to shop.
My most expensive clothing in the past year was: Thermals from Macpac on special at $20 each.
My last pair of shoes cost: $0 – found brand new on the side of the road (my neighbour was giving them away). Nice trail shoes.
My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: $40/year shampoo bars. I cut my own hair and don’t wear makeup.
My exercise expenditure in a year is about: I paid an osteopath $330 to help fix a few injuries. Everything else is free: I walk and YouTube yoga classes.
My last Friday night cost: $0. On Saturday I had a lunch out ($25) in Christchurch and made the most of free activities around the city with a friend.
Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: $42 for Calmer ear plugs – I fell for a Facebook Ad and have only worn them once.
Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: $1000 worth of decking timber.
One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Activities and treats for myself, but to be honest most of my financial decisions are frugal.
Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Find free stuff, save money.
I grew up in a house where money was: Limited. Both my parents couldn’t find work for large parts of my childhood.When they were able to work, they spent and invested money wisely, buying a house and slowly doing it up. I loved having present parents and making do with what we had.
The last time my eftpos card was declined was: When my automatic payment for house insurance went out unexpectedly, resulted in an empty bank account and a penalty fee until I could move funds around.
In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: More stable, still saving half my salary and investing wisely while continuing with my frugal ways. It’s likely that I’ll have saved another $200,000 or purchased a different property.
I would love to have more money for: I’d love to have enough so I could retire early, be comfortable and volunteer for projects I’m passionate about.
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